Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Nexus Shooting Difference - Part 2 - Bullet Traps

Arguably, the single most important piece of safety equipment on a shooting range is the bullet trap.  A properly constructed trap is vital to prevent bullets exiting the range and harming people and property outside of the range.  But, an often overlooked aspect that is equally as important, it that it must capture and prevent ricocheting bullets to prevent harm to the patrons inside of the range.  There are a wide variety of bullet traps in existence including granulated rubber traps, steel funnel traps at each lane, wide open steel funnel traps, or even a dirt berm in a basement.  All of these serve the primary purpose of ensuring that bullets do not exit the range adequately.  But, only one of these is the best at protecting the shooters inside of a range. 

The  steel funnel type of trap at each individual lane seen below is very common at indoor ranges.  Why?  Because it is relatively inexpensive.  The problem with this kind of trap is that the very narrow opening that leads to the bullet deceleration chamber can clog with lead residue over time and eventually these openings can fill up to the point that bullets strike the buildup and ricochet erratically.  Also, the presence of vertical partitions between each trap provides a second area where bullets can and have ricocheted.

Although rubber traps do a very good job of capturing bullets and are very cost effective initially, they are subject to a high degree of maintenance.  These traps can work just fine as long as the are regularly maintained every few weeks to months depending on the volume of shooting.   However, if the rubber traps are not cleaned out frequently, a large pocket of lead can build up in a highly concentrated area.  As the superficial layers of rubber are worn away and this lead ball builds up to the surface of the trap, the likelihood of a bullet striking this large metallic mass increases, as does the chance of dangerous ricochets.

We could have easily equipped our range with one of these less expensive traps; however, just as we spared no expense obtaining the best ventilation system possible to protect our customers' health, we purchased the safest trap available despite the fact that it costs considerably more than these other options.  Thus, we decided to go with Action Target's Total Containment Trap for our rifle lanes.  These are the same traps used at many military and law enforcement installations.  The design of this steel ramp guides bullets into a deceleration chamber with no intervening vertical components present that could cause dangerous ricochets.   This trap is not subject to the same maintenance requirements as rubber traps as the spent lead is automatically and continuously collected into containers by a mechanical auger system.  So, patrons can shoot without worrying about whether the range management is performing the necessary maintenance to ensure safety because for the Total Containment Trap it is being maintained continuously!

In fact it is so safe that shooters involved with tactical training will be permitted to shoot as close as only 1 yard away!  Also, for tactical shooters you can shoot at any angle all the way across the entire width of the range from a single position due to the lack of vertical obstructions.  

Watch the video below to see an officer fire as close as 1 yard away and shoot  an AR-15 at multiple angles!

On the pistol side of the range, we will be utilizing Action Target's flat trap which incorporates an angled metal plate that stops bullets, but we will also have multiple layers of self healing rubber curtain which prevents splatter and ricochets.  When a bullet passes through this rubber material, a 9 mm bullet leaves a hole only the size of a pinhole enabling the curtain to take hundreds of thousands of rounds before needing replacement.  The curtain prevents any backsplatter or ricocheting metallic fragments from reaching the shooter. 

Nexus Shooting is committed to shooter safety and well being.  In the next additions of our Nexus Shooting Difference series, we will continue to detail our plan to create the best possible indoor shooting range environment by covering topics such as sound abatement, innovative safety products, and more.

1 comment:

  1. very cool. Why not extend the bullet grating 2 yards FORWARD of the firing line. There was a LOT of brass fwd of the firing line. You can never get it all, but just 2 yards of trap fwd of the line would get almost 90% in the end. Maybe.